First Congressional District candidates Lee Zeldin and Nancy Goroff debate the issues in a virtual debate Monday night at 7 p.m.

First Congressional District candidates debated the issues Monday night in a virtual debate hosted by the League of Women.

Incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) sparred with challenger Nancy Goroff (D-Stony Brook) on the U.S. response to the pandemic, health care, climate change and more in the 90-minute debate.

The debate was recorded by SEA-TV and may be viewed on their YouTube channel here.

The candidates had two minutes to give an opening statement and answer each question, with one minute for rebuttal and one minute each for closing statements.

The debate was timed by Barbara McClancy and moderated by =Cathy Peacock for the League of Women Voters.

Opening Statements

Nancy Goroff
I got in this race because I want our kids to live in a world where the government is actually trying to make people’s lives better, and policy decisions are based on facts and reality. And I was so frustrated and infuriated at politicians’ willingness to ignore the facts and ignore the evidence on issue after issue, from climate change, to health care, to gun safety, and on and on. I’ve lived in this district for 23 years. I raised my kids here and sent them through public schools. I’ve been teaching and doing research at Stony Brook University. As chair of the chemistry department at Stony Brook, I ran a 300-person department with a multi-million dollar budget, which meant I had to be ready for whatever came across my desk. I needed to make tough decisions and justify those decisions to the people who cared about them. In my research lab, we develop new materials for solar energy, which means I had to come up with innovative research ideas, and then pitch those ideas and get support for the research. In my teaching, the part that has been most meaningful is helping students build a better future for themselves. And I also found myself a single mom of two teenagers, which meant I had to be there for them no matter what. I will be there for the people of this district no matter what. And I pledge to work hard for you.

Lee Zeldin
I was born and raised on Long Island. With my wife and daughters, I live now just a few blocks from where I grew up. In the army I spent four years on active duty. I spent the last 13 in the Army Reserve where I currently serve with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In the past, I’ve served as a military intelligence officer, prosecutor, magistrate and paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. I’m ranked the 12th most bipartisan congressman in America, and I’ll work with anyone to find common ground however possible. This year, I’ve secured key victories in getting vast amounts of PPE, testing, ventilators and funding for small businesses, individuals, hospitals and county government. Our district had a huge win earlier this year, when it was announced a $2 billion electron ion collider I helped steer to Brookhaven National Lab was coming with vital research and jobs. 10 of my legislative proposals have been signed into law: helping our military veterans, addressing helicopter routes, securing maritime safety, to improve access for complex rehabilitative wheelchairs. And more. I’ve secured key funding and approvals for important New York -1 infrastructure projects. And my office has successfully resolved 15,000 constituent cases, I support key proposals to reduce the costs of prescription drugs, to cover individuals with pre existing conditions and protect our important men and women in law enforcement to fight for them and to defend them. There’s still more to do. And whether it is growing our economy, strengthening our national security, ending this pandemic improving healthcare or fighting for defending those men and women in blue, we must keep up this important effort. I’m very grateful for your support. And I look forward to answering your questions.

U.S. pandemic response

LWV
Why is the death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. greater than any other wealthy nation? Could this have been avoided? What can the US do now to avoid another pandemic in the future?

Lee Zeldin
Well, key first, it’s really important to point out that the way that we were getting through this earlier on, where all levels of government Republicans and Democrats while working together, not as Republicans first or Democrats first, but as Long Islanders, first as New Yorkers first, as Americans first. That was the right attitude then and I believe that’s still the right approach today. One of the most important ways to prevent an epidemic or pandemic is early detection. That was lost in this process, earlier on in December in January, with the Chinese Communist Party, with the World Health Organization, making sure that the the facts were muzzled. There were individuals, doctors, experts, scientists who wanted to get the facts out. They were forced into confessions. Unfortunately, the virus started in China spread to the entire world and it hit home here and it hit us hard. I believe that the best way for us to continue to get through this is by working together. That’s why when the county executive called me up and said Suffolk County needed access to municipal liquidity facility, I called up the Secretary of Treasury and put the county executive on the phone. We made our pitch within days Suffolk County was eligible for the municipal liquidity facility. When Governor Cuomo said New York needed ventilators spoke to Governor Cuomo, called up Mark Meadows, the White House Chief of Staff. Instantly thousands of ventilators were sent to New York. It’s all partnership, teamwork, on public lab testing approvals, private lab testing, approvals, semi automated testing approvals, when the county executives office contacted me and said that the county stockpile ran out of key items of PPE late on that Saturday night, I was going back and forth between Jared Kushner at the White House and Lisa Bach at the county executive’s office. And by 5 pm the next day, the White House, the resident was announcing from the White House press briefing room at my request, he was sending us 200,000 N95 masks. He sent us 400,000 within 24, 48 hours. So that was how we were working together early. And that’s the way we need to continue to work today.

Nancy Goroff
Congressman Zeldin tells a nice story, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t match the facts. And it doesn’t actually answer the question. It’s really infuriating that we, the wealthiest country in the world have suffered the most deaths, the most cases we are farther behind every other developed country in the world. And we know that it’s because of an irresponsible president and his reckless and incompetent response to this pandemic. And unfortunately, Congressman Zeldin has called his response ‘phenomenal.’ By the time those masks came here, it was much too late. We absolutely should have had early detection. And it’s unfortunate the president both removed people from China who were there, placed by the Obama administration, to be early on the ground. And he also ignored warnings from so many health experts across the globe. We now know from the president’s own words, that he knew in January, that this was going to be very bad that this was an airborne disease. And yet he misled us, he did not take proper precautions. And even now, the president is declining to wear a mask, declining to send clear public health messages. We need real leaders who are going to look at the facts and look at the science and follow through we need PP across the country, not just what a congressman gets on the phone and says we’re desperate. We need to have testing that is Fast, Free and reliable. And we need a plan for delivering a vaccine when we have one that has been shown to be safe and effective. Unfortunately, all of that means we need a competent government with real leaders. And that’s not what we have right now.

Protests, violence, law & order

LWV
First. The phrase defund the police has been hurt around the country. It comes in the wake of videos of police involved incidents, resulting in the deaths of black citizens. Just yesterday, there was a drive by shooting that injured several people, what has happened to law and order in our country? What recommendations do you have to restore both our ability to protest peacefully and to protect our citizens?

Nancy Goroff
I start by setting the record straight because unfortunately, my opponent has been spreading lies about my positions. So let me be very clear. I am against defunding the police. The police play a very important role in keeping us safe. The police also need to have the resources and the training to do their job well. And we have seen incidents this spring in summer, that there are issues we must address as a society, issues of systemic racism and issues of how to do things better. I am committed to working with all stakeholders to make sure that we address those issues, that we look at how to do things better, and that we are funding social services sufficiently. So that we’re not asking the police to solve problems at the end of a 911 call, that are long-term problems that need real solutions. We need to make sure we are investing in having safe shelter for people who are homeless that we are investing in drug treatment for people who have addiction problems, and not just treatment for a few weeks, as most people have access to now, but for the months or a year, that is actually necessary. According to research. All of these things are needed to keep us safe. I’ve lived in this district for 23 years, I raised my two daughters here, and I want our community to be safe. That means working together, recognizing that we can do better and not providing divisive rhetoric about defunding the police.

Lee Zeldin
I agree that facts matter. So let’s talk about some facts. My opponent called the police dangerous. That is on video. My opponent said that we should send non-police to respond to domestic violence crime scenes, instead of sending police. That’s on a video as well. During a New York-1 Democratic primary, asked whether or not the candidate supported federal funding to combat MS-13. The other three Democratic candidates clearly and unequivocally said yes. My opponent was the only one on stage who refused to. She shows up at protests and she holds up signs criticizing the riot gear that’s given to our police in order to respond to riots. She supports a bill, in that bill that she has publicly pushed, enact cashless bail nationally. There’s also a mass prison release that includes violent criminals. That’s in that legislation. When she went to her screening with the Suffolk County law enforcement organizations, she was asked to condemn the rioting, looting and violence against police. And she refused to. Everything here is documented. So how about we trust some facts? And all six of those that I just laid out are facts. This is personal to me. I was raised in a law enforcement household. I believe that almost 100% of our law enforcement are made up of amazing men and women. And unfortunately, because of pandering politicians and feckless leaders, we’re seeing the violence in New York City, Kenosha, Seattle, Portland, and elsewhere. And I don’t want to see that spread to other cities. I don’t want to see that spread to suburbs across this country. I believe that we should be doing more to support our law enforcement, not less. I believe that the average person out in the district wants to see stronger support for our law enforcement, and not this dangerous, these dangerous anti-police policies and rhetoric that set us back. We trust in the facts. And instead of responding to some other hypothetical question to yourself, why don’t we get to the heart of what you’ve actually said that is on video and well-documented.

Nancy Goroff
I certainly would. Because unfortunately, once again, Mr. Zeldin is telling stories for political expedience, instead of actually sticking with the facts. So let me be clear, I am against rioting, I am against looting, I am against flooding violent criminals on the street. It seems remarkable that we have to even say such things. But I want it to be perfectly clear. That doesn’t mean we can’t do better. And I think when we look at the incidents that we saw — George Floyd’s death and Breonna Taylor’s death, it’s clear to any of us that we must do better that for people of color, we must do better. I we believe in keeping people safe. But I think we all as Americans believe in equal justice under the law. And there have been so many instances this year that have shown that for people of color, they do not have that opportunity. And we owe it to them to figure out as a society, how we deal with these problems and make things better.

Economic recovery after COVID

LWV
The pandemic has prompted Congress to borrow close to $5 trillion, bringing the total national debt to over $27 trillion. Instead of a V-shaped recovery, it appears we’re having a K- shaped recovery. Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve believes that the debt incurred now can be paid back when the economy recovers, which he strongly believes it will. Do you agree with Chairman Powell? What do you think will be required for the economy to recover? How will the debt be paid back?

Lee Zeldin
Well, it is good news that now the unemployment rate is lower than where economists were predicting the unemployment rate would be at the end of 2021, just a few months ago, in order for our economy to be able to grow and be as strong as it as possibly can, it’s important that we move past this pandemic as quickly as possible. And that means getting a vaccine, getting over the fear of that, and mass distributed across New York State and across this entire nation. The economy and our health go hand in hand. And fortunately, we have seen an economic rebound that is ongoing that is underway over the course of these last few months. But we have more to go. And as far as the size of our debt and our deficit. Listen, the most important thing right now is for us to get past this pandemic, to help those small businesses that government shut down, those small business owners that might have been doing just fine making ends meet before the pandemic hit. But now, unfortunately, they can’t make it without that assistance. Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program would be vital for them, for families to get past this, is key as well. And once we get past this pandemic, we need to have a serious conversation with each other as Americans, Republicans, Democratic, conservatives, moderates, liberals, we all need to come together as a country and make some tough decisions. It’s not about balancing the budget next year, our deficit is that big. It is about coming up with a budget plan that goes over the course of several years. I support a balanced budget amendment. I believe that we should be smart, responsible in how we do it, to ensure no one gets hurt in that process. There should be regular order with amendments inside of committees and debate instead of, you know, some party leader in the head of a chamber saying this is what you all have to vote on. And you have no say in that the crafting the development of legislation. People need a voice at the table. Once we get past this pandemic, it’s really important that we are able to work together to tackle our debt deficit.

Nancy Goroff
We absolutely do need to get past the public health crisis in order to solve the economic crisis. And although a vaccine will be an important part of that, the head of the CDC Dr. Redfield testified just a few weeks ago that we already have what we need to move forward. He testified that the most important thing for us to do is to have everyone wear masks. Unfortunately, the president the next day, denied that because it didn’t fit his narrative. We have to immediately start helping our state and local governments with the tremendous financial burdens that they are bearing now, while their revenues are much lower than usual. We must get aid to our states, to our school districts to help them out. I am disappointed that congressman Zeldin has been unable to do that. And right now, what we see is that in the senate where his party is in the majority, they are unwilling to move forward with any package — even the one that President Trump has suggested. We also are going to need significant stimulus spending from the federal government through next year certainly. And that includes support for small businesses, and support for building infrastructure, which will help us build the future we need for ourselves and for our children. I want to make sure that that infrastructure includes clean energy investments, investments to build a green energy economy that will help us and our kids and pay great dividends down the road. Those are all top priorities.

Aid to local farms & small businesses

LWV
Farm subsidies are limited to growers of grains, soybeans, wheat, cotton and rice. Producers of meats, fruits and vegetables only benefit from crop insurance and disaster relief. The majority of growers in Suffolk County are small family farms that produce vegetables, orchards and vineyards. Do you have plans to support the farmers in your district? And what specific measures do you support to ensure that financial aid is delivered to all the small business is in the First CD hurt by COVID-19?

Nancy Goroff
I think the pandemic has shown us in very visceral ways how how tenuous our food supply can be, because it has been so concentrated among so few producers. And we have seen that if one meatpacking plant is under quarantine because of the pandemic, it can shock the entire meat supply for the entire country. We as a country will be safer, and our small farmers will be helped. If we regionalize our agriculture if we do provide support for small growers and small producers, it will make our food system more robust and safer. And I absolutely am committed to helping our small farmers and ending the monopoly of subsidies on large producers and producers of grains. We must also, to help our our communities to have access to vegetables and fruits, we should be helping farmers who produce these things and end the prevalence of food deserts. You know, we have communities in our district and throughout this country, where it’s easier to find a pack of potato chips than it is a bunch of broccoli. We owe it to the people of our communities to make fruits and vegetables as affordable as potato chips, and I commit to working on this effort.

Lee Zeldin
For one, we need to get more money into the Paycheck Protection Program. We have local farmers in need of that additional support. I also believe that the loans should be forgiven up to $150,000, which will help many of our local farmers if they don’t have to pay back up to that first $150,000 of any loan that any of them have taken. Additionally, expanding the USDA program where local food banks like Island Harvest will pass out, distribute food to those who need it in our local community. We should have more of that product provided from our local farming base. I believe that when we look at why this hasn’t happened, that we should rely on the facts. And while my opponent referenced the U.S. Senate, I would like to, you know, it’s I guess it’s we all understand that this process requires the House and Senate to pass legislation. I would encourage people to look at last week’s interview between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Wolf Blitzer on CNN, because that really gets to the heart of where the rubber meets the road here. And fortunately, there are House Democrats, not my opponent, but there are House Democrats who have been speaking up advocating privately and publicly to the Speaker of the House to bring a vote, because instead of a one house partisan messaging bill with poison pills, that obviously leave the bill dead on arrival — I mentioned the cashless bail the mass prison release stimulus checks to people legally in a country nationwide ballot harvesting a nationwide ban on voter ID — let’s just focus on Coronavirus response and cut a deal. Right now there’s a massive offer that is on the table that the Speaker needs to take yes for an answer, at this point. She was offered $1.6 (million). Now there’s actually $1.8 trillion offer which is hundreds and billions of dollars more than I thought that there was going to be a deal on. So everyone needs to work together in order to get this done in our local farmers will benefit.

Partisan paralysis in Congress

LWV
Over the past decade, Congress has had a difficult time getting laws passed. There are endless political wars. On what issues would you personally work across the aisle?

Lee Zeldin
Well, I’m actually always working with colleagues on the opposite side of the aisle. It’s the only way to get something done when you have a Democratic house, a Republican Senate where you need 60 votes for many of the Senate rules but there aren’t 60 in the majority and a Republican president, you have divided government the only way to get anything done is by everybody working together. Georgetown University ranks all 435 members of the House of Representatives on their annual bipartisan index they do that based off of members, co sponsors and working with the opposite party, sponsoring their bills helping other party’s bills get across the finish line, for the other party to be sponsoring your bills, to help your pieces of legislation get across the finish line. And there’s a lot of opportunity there and whether it’s working on issues like, research with Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia or working with Joe Courtney to get the most amount of signatures ever, bipartisan basis, to get Sea Grant fully funded, or co chairing the Long Island Sound caucus with Tom Suozzi and Rosa Delaura, and tripling funding for the EPA Long Island Sound Pprogram, or working with Republicans and Democrats to fully fund the National Estuary Program. It was Republicans and Democrats working together to permanently fund and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Great American outdoors act is now law. Plum Island has been a process, a project of Republicans and Democrats working together, a Republican House passed legislation to save Plum Island, a Democratic House did as well. And just last year, there was a suspension for all of FY 2020 because the Senate finally passed a bill as well. Going all across the map, if you want to accomplish anything, it’s a result of being able to work with the other side. It doesn’t mean you’re always going to agree. There could be debate, there’s disagreement, that is an American value. And you end up with better legislation as a result of airing what your problems are with bills. But we have to work together and I would get something over the finish line.

Nancy Goroff
You know, it would be nice if Congressman Zeldin was better at actually getting these things done instead of just talking about them. Unfortunately, in the six years that he has been in office, he has only passed three pieces of legislation that he originated, two of which were to name buildings. In Congress, I will be a leader in particular on the issue of climate change. And I hope we will talk about it more before the evening is over. But as a scientist, and as someone who has been a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists for many years, this is a top priority for me. It’s an area where I will be a leader and I will have my office be a resource for every member of Congress, Republican and Democratic, so that they can get access to the best information available, get all their questions answered. And then I will hold their feet to the fire to make sure that we take meaningful action. Because climate change is, long term, the biggest risk we face to our way of life here with coastal erosion and sea level rise and extreme weather all threatening us. And this is something where I will make sure to lead so that we have real action.

Climate Change

LWV
Well, let’s talk about climate change. The term climate change is frequently in the news about forest fires, tornadoes, water shortage and other natural disasters. What do you believe about climate change, or human activities contributing to it? Does anything need to be done about it? And in what timeframe?

Nancy Goroff
As I just said, human-caused climate change is the biggest long-term threat we face to our way of life, here on Long Island, whether in the Mastic-Shirley area where congressman Zeldin has made his home or out on the East End, flooding from increased sea level is a serious problem, coastal erosion and sea level rise, extreme weather they all threaten us. Climate change also threatens us from a national security point of view, because of droughts that are causing great dislocations across the globe, leading to our largest refugee crises in — perhaps ever. The science is absolutely clear that human activity and human emission of carbon dioxide and methane and other carbon compounds is the cause of this climate change. Thankfully, it is not too late. But we must take vigorous, ambitious and sustained actions. We must set ambitious targets. We should aim to be carbon-neutral in our energy production by 2035. To get there, we’re going to have to actively deploy existing technologies in renewable energy and clean buildings and in clean vehicles, and we’re going to need to build the infrastructure to support it. We also need to invest in research to develop the technologies of tomorrow, technologies that are scalable and can be exported to much poorer countries, think India or Bangladesh, countries that naturally want to improve their standard of living. But if they do it the way we did it, they’re going to blow the entire world’s carbon budget. This is an issue which I take personally. I know we must take action and every year that we delay means a worsening of the effects that we have to deal with. And I will make it my top priority.

Lee Zeldin
I’ve been honored to serve as a member of the bipartisan climate solutions caucus. I co-sponsored bipartisan legislation called the Carbon Capture Improvement Act. And that legislation creates financial incentives for industrial plants, facilities and power plants to invest in carbon capture and storage equipment. That’s legislation that I believe would help us further address this issue. I would encourage all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to cosponsor it and for it to actually pass and become law. I think it would be great for addressing this issue. Every long Islander wants access to clean air and clean water. That is one of the reasons why I started on the PFAS Task Force. I have supported the PFAS Action Act. And it’s important for the federal government to assist with remediation. We have some sites here in the First Congressional District, like we’ve seen all across the entire country. In the first district, we have an issue around Gabreski Airport, which fortunately has been getting addressed by partners at all levels of government. Same thing around EPCAL with the Department of Navy. We haven’t heard any of any issues recently with regards to Brookhaven National Lab. Earlier on, I was talking about fully funding the National Estuary Program. My my opponent said that I wasn’t talking about issues that actually got over the finish line. We actually did fully fund the National Estuary Program. We actually did fully fund Sea Grant. We actually did triple funding for the Long Island Sound. Going through that list, we actually did secure million and a half dollars to help Plum Island Lighthouse for FY 2020. We did stop the sale of Plum Island. We did permanently fund and reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I don’t know why my opponent would be trying to dumb down voters. We should stick to facts. My opponent said that I’ve only had three legislative proposals passed and signed into law. The answer is 10. Ten legislative proposals have been passed and signed into law. So let’s stick to facts.

World leadership, China, trade wars

LWV
What is the U.S. role in the world? How are we perceived? In particular, how would you characterize the relationship between China and the US currently and what it should be going forward? Are trade wars effective?

Lee Zeldin
Right now I look at China as the largest geopolitical threat on the entire planet. We’ve seen it play out with regards to this pandemic. The race for 5G, the Belt and Road initiative Patent, IP infringement, trade practices. That list goes on. Human rights abuses. It’s a large powerful country, and they don’t share our value system and and in many ways, adversarial and competitors. That includes cybersecurity as well. The United States played a very important role to play just take the Middle East over the course of the last few years, utilizing many instruments of national power, including, fortunately, that includes diplomacy, bilateral and multilateral. The ISIS Caliphate has been eliminated. Qasem Soleimani is dead. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. The embassy in Israel was moved to Jerusalem. United States recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Full normalization of relations recently announced between Israel in the UAE, recently announced between Israel and Bahrain, other countries are coming on board as well. The Taylor Force Act was signed into law we need to strengthen our relationships with our friends, treat our adversaries as our adversaries. Understanding our adversaries do not respect weakness, they only respect strength. We can’t be silent, not because we want war, but because we want to prevent it. The military option is the last possible option. I’ve been serving the military now for over 17 years. It’s the last thing we want to do. It’s important as we’re looking at our adversaries that we don’t approach them from weakness. On the Iran nuclear deal, for example, had tons of flaws in it. I did not support it. It was the right move to withdraw from it. Look at Iran’s bad activities left out of it. The world’s largest state sponsor of terror, destabilizing the Middle East, overthrowing foreign governments. The United States has an important leadership role to play. Fortunately, USMCA was passed to improve our trade practices with our partners. And we have more work to do on the trade front. That should be a product of everybody working together in Washington, and with the leadership of the United States on the world stage, like some of the examples of what we’ve seen in the Middle East.

Nancy Goroff
Unfortunately, although the congressman just gave a long litany, a list of things, many of which are quite misleading, we know that the United States position in the world is so much weaker now than it was four years ago. By turning our backs on our allies and ignoring our adversaries, the president has put us at risk and in danger, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal brought Iran so much closer to a nuclear weapon. And we are at risk from that. Yes, there are things we need to do to stop Iran’s bad activities. They start with diplomacy, and they start with the Iran nuclear deal. How are we ever going to get a deal with Iran on anything else? When we signed an agreement, and then pulled out when all of our allies are with us? We have turned our backs on our allies with the Paris accord on climate change. And I don’t know if you noticed, but the congressman never actually answered the question of whether he believes in human-caused climate change and believes that we need to take action on it. But we do, we pulled out of the Paris Accord, whether it’s agreements with our allies, like that agreement, which actually is with every other country in the world — and the United States, is the only country that has tried to pull out— or whether its nuclear disarmament agreements with Russia that the president has tried to pull out of, or it’s trade arrangements with China. We absolutely need to be engaging with our allies and our adversaries and the fact that we are now an isolationist country where our president does foreign policy by tweet and puts our troops at risk and in danger, by pulling out of Syria makes us weaker, and leaves a vacuum for China to grow into.

Withdrawal from Afghanistan

LWV
There is disagreement between the White House and the nation’s top generals about the withdrawal of 2,500 troops from Afghanistan. Given that there are peace talks occurring now between the Taliban and the Afghan government? Would you support the president’s recent decision to withdraw troops by Christmas, or the generals’ recommendation for a more gradual process?

Nancy Goroff
Unfortunately, the president changes his mind so often on foreign policy that I don’t ever take what he says seriously, until we’ve acted on it. Remember that he chose to pull troops out of Syria, only to decide that we need to send them back in to guard the oil fields, as if our troops should be treated as mercenaries for the oil fields of Syria. But he in pulling them out by tweet without discussing it with the generals. He left those our bases there, we left our possessions behind for the Syrian government to take over. This is not how we should be running foreign policy. I do believe that we need to stop forever wars. And that means making clear, deliberate actions with our allies on board, not abandoning our allies, but making our positions clear using diplomacy and always, always keeping the lives of our soldiers first and foremost as our top priority. Unfortunately, that’s not how this president has operated. And at the same time, just a couple weeks ago, Mr. Zeldin tweeted that he thought the president deserved a Nobel Peace Prize. This is what we are dealing with. We need grownups in the room.

Lee Zeldin
Several things. First off, I thought I made it pretty clear as I was explaining my membership and the bipartisan climate solutions caucus and my support of different legislation to protect our air protect our water, but I’ll say it once again, it’s important to address climate change. I’ve said it many times in the past, it’s real. And that’s why I belong to that caucus, and why it co sponsored legislation like the carbon capture Improvement Act. I don’t believe that it helped our relationships with our allies went on their way out the door of the Obama Biden administration, fast track UN Security Council resolution 2334, through the United Nations Security Council, stabbing in the back Israel, and in many ways, where the United States should have, like they have done historically, exercise their veto power, they helped that get through. As it relates to Afghanistan, we’ve been there for 19 years, we have lost a lot of service members through through death, through serious bodily injury. And it is time for us to be in a position to end the war in Afghanistan. I don’t believe that after 19 years… (Zeldin’s wifi connection dropped momentarily.) I believe strongly that, that the full normalization of relations between Israel and these other Arab and Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East, that it’s a very positive development. This is a consequence of concern over Iran destabilizing the Middle East, as well as the administration, making it clear to these Arab and majority-Muslim countries how important it is, for them to strengthen their relationships with Israel, which I believe is a beacon of freedom and democracy in a very dark region of the world. This administration has done a fantastic job strengthening our relationship with Israel. And I don’t believe that that’s anything to apologize for. I believe that they’re our greatest ally on the entire planet.

Healthcare in the U.S.

LWV
Disparities in health insurance coverage and access to health services persist in the US healthcare system. Children in particular rely on health care coverage to grow up healthy and thrive. Children whose parents are insured are more likely to be insured and receive the care they need. What specific programs do you support to provide access to health care to all Americans — children, adults, Medicare recipients?

Lee Zeldin
Well, I helped lead the efforts with regards to CHIP last Congress to get that over the finish line, as well as helping to lead the effort to fund our community health centers, I cosponsored legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, H.R.19, to cap out-of-pocket costs for our seniors to bring more generics to market faster. I believe that Medicare benefits further, as we’re able to continue to flatten the Part D benefit growth numbers, it’s actually been better than what was forecasted. There was action taken by the administration with regards to Medicare Part B, to increase competition. I don’t believe that the answer is a partisan bill like H.R.3, which engages not in price negotiation but price setting. It’s this is going to be a product of everybody working together. Also additional funding to combat the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic which is impacting our kids. I helped lead the effort with regards to the comprehensive addiction and recovery act in my first term. H.R.6, I was involved in, 58 different bills became part of H.R.6, which became law in the last Congress, and I’m a member of the task force to combat the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. I also strongly supported the 21st Century Cures Act, we need to increase investment in NIH in their important research. I’ve signed on to different letters and and supported different efforts to increase the investment in that research for not just diseases that are well known, but also rare diseases as well. There are a lot of individuals out there who need us talking about this issue. There are a lot of kids. We’ve lost young boys and girls in our district as a result of a rare diseases so that investment is important as well.

Nancy Goroff
We have to make sure that every American has access to high quality, affordable health care period. Unfortunately, the congressman has voted to repeal or to gut the Affordable Care Act 15 times, including voting against protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions. The people of this district deserve so much better. There are 71,000 people in this district who would have lost their health care if the congressman’s efforts and the efforts of his party had been successful. And since they were not successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act, they’re now trying to do it through the courts. But don’t be fooled. They are working very hard to take away health care. And unfortunately, the congressman has never offered a positive vision for what should replace it. We should offer Medicare as a public option for those who want it, to allow people to use their private insurance if they want, or to buy into Medicare as a public option. That should be available to all Americans or to their employers. We also need to address the prescription drug issue. And that means making sure that we get generics in place as quickly as possible. And it means allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, it also means protecting the closing of the doughnut hole in the Part D benefit, which is in danger if the Affordable Care Act is removed. Every American deserves affordable and high quality health care. And I am committed to making sure that that’s what we have.

Lee Zeldin
It’s unfortunate that someone who says that the campaign that she’s looking to run will be based on facts has just been so dishonest throughout this entire debate. And during her campaign. I strongly support coverage for individuals with pre existing conditions. I would actually — so I voted for a bill that includes language specifically to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions. There was language written into that bill. Yet, my opponent will say the opposite. My opponent has the a Democratic super PAC running ads for her called 314 Action, which says that I voted against a protecting the life of a mother with regards to the issue of abortion. You know what, my opponent can’t provide any facts to back that up. You know why? Because it doesn’t exist. The legislation I past specifically, just like the preexisting conditions, has a provision that carves out an exception for protecting the life of a mother. Again, the ad also talks about voting against IUDs. My opponent can’t provide any facts to back that up. And you know what that means? Without the facts to back it up, she should be leading the charge to take that ad down, but she won’t she’s sitting back. She wants to benefit from it to scare women. Provide the facts. And that’s why Channel 7 took that ad down. I would like my opponent to provide the facts.

Campaign finance reform

LWV
Many Americans feel that campaign contributions have a negative impact on our democracy. Would you recommend any regulatory changes to reform campaign financing?

Nancy Goroff
Absolutely. I strongly back H.R.1, which was passed last year by the House, which will provide for improved transparency and also overturn many of the things that were decided in the Supreme Court with the Citizens United case. We need to get rid of dark money. We need to end corporate PAC contributions. My opponent has accepted over a million dollars in corporate PAC contributions since he came into office — more than $250,000 this year, and he has used his votes to vote for his wealthy donors and his corporate supporters, such as not being willing to take vigorous action on climate change, such as voting with the NRA, including co-sponsoring a bill for reciprocal concealed carry laws so that the laws of Oklahoma or Montana would supersede the law of New York State in keeping people safe. He has voted with the drug companies and with the insurance companies which he has gotten quite a bit of money from as well. I am not taking any corporate PAC contributions. And I believe that we should end corporate PAC contributions. And we should also make sure that we have real election reform. So that voting is safe and easy for all Americans.

Lee Zeldin
It’s so dishonest. All right. So where do we start? On the corporate PAC donations, my opponent will take it as long as it’s funneled through third parties. She’ll take donations from Nancy Pelosi’s leadership PAC, she’ll take donations from Adam Schiff’s leadership PAC, which are funded with corporate PAC donations. She’ll take funding from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with field staffers’ support to get her campaign out. They said they’re funded with corporate PAC donations. So it’s unfortunate that my opponent has crafted this interesting exception where she doesn’t accept corporate PAC money, unless it’s funneled through third parties like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff. And I would say that one of the reasons why I didn’t support H.R.1 is because it has a six to one donor match where the federal government, your tax dollars are going to be going to fund campaigns for candidates you don’t even agree with. I don’t believe that taxpayer-funded political campaigns is the right answer. And I’ll go back to my point, I want to talk about what we need to do as far as the question, I would like my opponent, I’ll reiterate it, to tell us, to tell me what the background is on the 314 Action ad, which claims that I voted against IUDs. What is the background, I’m asking Professor Goroff to tell us what is the background as far as there being a vote that I made, where I voted against abortion, even to save the life of the mother. Either provide the facts, or right here on this debate, call on 314 Action to take their ad down, Channel 7 already took it down because it’s not true. It is provably false. And now if we want to talk about what we should do about campaign finance, let’s talk about the dishonest ads that my opponent is running. And that was a perfect opportunity for my opponent right here. Listen, if it’s backed up, everyone’s seen, it’s the ad that’s on TV the most. My opponent right now has an opportunity to provide the facts. What were the votes? Either tell us what the votes are — or — (Time expired.)

Nancy Goroff
Yes, I am so sorry. I am not responsible for what 314 advertises, but you are responsible for your campaign’s ads, and your campaign is advertising that I want to defend the police, when I have said very clearly, over and over again, that I do not want to defend the police. So if you want to talk about dishonesty and ads, take down your own ads now, instead of pretending that I have a position that I do not have. Forget what 314 is doing. Be responsible for yourself.

Lee Zeldin
I believe that my opponent should provide the facts to the voters right now. With regards to the claim that I voted against IUDs and the claim that I voted for a bill that bans abortion even protect the life of the mother. Either provide the facts or ask for the ad to get taken down. Now as far as my opponent’s anti-police agenda, I have a problem with my opponent calling police dangerous. I have an issue with her calling for non-police to be sent to domestic violence crime scenes instead of sending police, refusing to endorse federal funding to defeat MS-13. I have an issue with my with my opponent going into the the local law enforcement screening and refusing to condemn the rioting, looting and the violence against the police. I would ask everyone to go see for yourselves that video, the documentation, see the facts, go to RadicalNancy.com. Go to that website right now. And you will see everything that’s laid out and it’s my opponent in her own words. She’s holding the sign with regards to criticizing riot gear given to our police to respond to riots, and so on. So the facts are there. Go to RadicalNancy calm.com. Don’t take my word for it. Go watch the videos.

Immigration reform

LWV
As a member of Congress, what specific proposals would you support to improve our immigration system?

Lee Zeldin
I believe that our country never was closer to a deal than what we saw towards the beginning of 2019. There was a bill that was coming together with regards to border security, interior enforcement and elements with regards to people who are not legally in the country today. The deadline was the DACA case that was before the Supreme Court. Once the Supreme Court moved the DACA deadline, all of a sudden the oxygen amongst the Senate and House leadership went down and people moved on to other issues. But the answer is working together and counting votes. And listen, it’s about counting votes. If you add e-verify to a bill, you might add 28 votes. If you take it, you know, if you add e-verify to a bill, you might lose 25 other votes. Now you have to get to 218 votes in the House. And you have to get the 60 votes in the Senate to move through their process in order to make a law. Now I believe that a nation’s backbone is its rule of law. We need to combat MS-13, more tools for federal government and all levels of government to work together in an effort to defeat transnational gangs, to go after sex trafficking and human trafficking that’s coming across our borders. The labor trafficking. We have had issues where ICE has busted up brothels in the First Congressional District where young women were being rescued by our amazing ICE agents. There are people in Congress who want to defend ICE, to defend the Department of Homeland Security, I believe that we should be providing them even more resources. ICE agents are prioritizing going after Ms-13, human trafficking, sex trafficking, obviously the gang activity and violent criminal acts. So those that’s where the focus should be in deporting those people who are illegally in our country. So border security, interior enforcement, and dealing with the people who are illegally in our country, to try to get the votes to make as much progress as possible. And that’s something that I strongly support.

Nancy Goroff
We are a country of laws and we are also a country of immigrants. You know, my own grandparents came to this country as immigrants, and not all of them legally. My father’s father was in the Merchant Marines and jumped ship in Baltimore, and went on to live the American dream. And we must make sure we enforce our laws, we must also make sure that we are true to our heritage as a country of immigrants. Unfortunately, this administration’s immigration policy has moved away from focusing on dealing with violent criminals and making sure we take action to get them out of this country, and has instead focused on refugees and families. We should not abolish ICE. But we should also not be putting children in cages or separating parents from their children at the border. We need a humane and efficient and effective border policy, which we do not have currently. This administration also dismantled programs down in Central America that the Obama administration had put in place to keep refugees there so that they didn’t walk across Mexico to come to our border. And unfortunately Congressman Zeldin, like President Trump, has been disingenuous and has done lots of fear-mongering on this issue. One of the reasons I got in this race is I was frustrated at the way they talked about a caravan coming to invade our country as a way to describe some refugees walking towards our border, as if they were an existential threat to our way of life. But climate change, you know, we can’t really do very much about climate change. We have real problems here, climate change and health care, that we need to address and now a pandemic. And let’s not fear monger about pretend problems.

Future of Social Security

LWV
Congress is talking about cuts to Social Security to ensure the program’s solvency what actions would you favor to accomplish this goal?

Nancy Goroff
Social Security is the most successful social program we have ever had in this country. Before Social Security. seniors were the group that had the highest rate of poverty of any age group. We must make sure that Social Security continues and is strong enough and is solvent. Unfortunately, the president’s actions this year have put Social Security at risk by allowing employers to stop collecting payroll taxes as a offhand way to deal with a terrible economic crisis — which, of course has come from a pandemic that the president mishandled. The president stopped the collection of payroll taxes without any action to make those payroll taxes no longer do. There are going to be two options next year. One is to have people have an unexpected tax bill that they are not prepared to pay. And the other is to not have the revenue for Social Security that we need. Either of these is completely unacceptable. And it’s because we have an incompetent president, who is trying shorthand solutions instead of really dealing with the problems we face. We must make sure that Social Security’s funding is secure. I strongly support having wealthy income earners, who earn over $400,000 a year, pay Social Security tax beyond the cap that is currently in place. We must make sure that we continue Social Security for all our seniors and that it has an accurate cost of living adjustment that truly matches their increased costs.

Lee Zeldin
This is a very important question and topic we must preserve and protect Social Security, Medicare for our seniors, for those who are opposed to retirement. This is something that will require not just bipartisanship in Congress, but also Republicans and Democrats, Independents, all Americans coming ogether. I believe that a bipartisan, bicameral commission should come together between the House and the Senate to develop a 50-year plan for Social Security. A separate bicameral, bipartisan commission should come together to develop a 50-year plan for Medicare. Concessions are going to have to get made. But all options when they’re having their discussion at the table should be debated and vetted out with one really important principle — to fully protect the promise to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare for our seniors and for those who are close to retirement. I in a recent Congress had a vote to prevent an across-the-board cut to the Social Security Disability Insurance, SSDI. Fortunately, that was done that would have adversely impacted 11 million Americans. So as we are dealing with the short-term deadlines that are coming up, we have to approach this with long-term vision, and long-term will and a strong bipartisan spirit. Now, if you see that something is solvent for 10 more years, that doesn’t mean that you should wait eight more years to have the discussion. the responsible thing is for us in 2020, to be talking about how Social Security and Medicare are solvent in 2040 and 2050 and 2060. Long-term vision that while we’re protecting our our parents and grandparents, that we’re also protecting our kids and our grandkids to make sure that this benefit is there for them. For those who paid into Social Security and Medicare, they rely on it. And they need to ensure that it’s there. And there should be geographical regional considerations too, for people on Long Island to get more of a benefit.

Repealing the SALT cap

LWV
Do you support or oppose repealing the $10,000 cap on tax deductibility of state and local taxes? The salt deduction and why?

Lee Zeldin
Yeah, I strongly support removing the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction. That is the reason why I voted against the tax bill in 2017. I cosponsor many different bills to permanently lift the state and local tax deduction. Unfortunately, you have some partisan grandstanding that is going on and some political posturing and electioneering where people are not alone in this conversation, in working together to get a victory over the finish line. I would say strategically if you’re trying to figure out the best way to get this over the finish line. It’s probably to lift the cap to a number that fully protects middle income itemizers. $20-$25,000. I don’t want to lift the state and local tax deduction for the purpose of helping people like my opponent. I mean, my opponent’s net worth is estimated at, you know, $25 to $123 million. She brags on Facebook about buying $100,000 sport cars. I, as she pointed out, was raised in the Shirley-Mastic community, which is a lower low middle income community on the south shore of Long Island. That’s how I was raised. That’s where I live now. That’s where my kids go to school, two-thirds qualify for free and reduced lunch. The same thing is like that today. So one vote was buried into that legislation I mentioned earlier with the poison pills. Like the cashless bail nationally, the nationwide ballot harvesting, the voter ID ban, the stimulus checks to people illegally in the country. And the other wasn’t crafted right. It was actually a tax increase. And what it did was permanently increase tax rates in exchange for a very temporary change to SALT. I actually would have supported it if they tied both the increase of the top individual tax rates to the SALT deduction. But unfortunately, I don’t— maybe I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that it was a drafting error. And I told the bill sponsors, I’d be happy to support them. But that’s the right way to do it. You don’t want to create a tax increase that results in additional tax increases. But there is a way to get that bill over the finish line. And again, I co sponsored multiple other bills.

Nancy Goroff
Yeah, unfortunately, the congressman wants to have his cake and eat it too here. You know, he said to Newsday, that the reason that he voted against the bipartisan bill put together by Congressman Peter King and Congressman Tom Suozzi, which would have removed the cap on state and local taxes was because he didn’t want to support increasing the top bracket tax rate back to what it was under Obama. So now he’s coming up with some other reason for why it’s not good, but that is what he told Newsday when he made his vote. The fact is that the Congressman, his party was in power in 2017, in both the House and the Senate, and he was either unable or unwilling to use whatever influence he had to keep the cap on state and local tax deductions out of that bill. Yeah, they let him vote against it because they didn’t need his vote on the final bill, but he did vote to bring the bill to the floor for consideration. And he was unable to keep this piece, which affects taxpayers throughout our district, to keep it out of his party’s tax bill, that was a tax bill that they called a cut. But it was not a cut for the people of New York-1. And the congressman had the opportunity to make it right by voting for the bipartisan Suozzi-King bill, and he chose to vote against it.

Federal role in waste management

LWV
The town of Brookhaven landfill is reaching capacity. There’s a fixed amount of real estate in Long Island to devote to waste management. What do you see as the federal role in shaping Long Island’s looming waste crisis?

Nancy Goroff
This is a challenging problem. And unfortunately, the discussions right now in Brookhaven Town, and the actions that are being prepared are again, focusing on the community of North Bellport, which is a majority-minority community. And we see once again, that we don’t have equal protection for all members of our society. We have to make sure that whatever waste disposal we have is safe, and that people’s health concerns are treated seriously. We need to look at the science, not at anecdotal information, but really do the research to make sure that when people are worried that they’re being exposed to dangerous fumes, as many people in that community currently believe, that it is tested and that we know, Town of Brookhaven has been fined for the off-gassing from the town landfill. But nothing has been done to change what’s happening there. And I think we need the EPA and the state Dec working with the town of Brookhaven. Then, or whatever government we are talking about. These are things where the role of a member of Congress is in large part, to facilitate those conversations and make sure that every constituents voice is heard. And that’s something I will take very seriously as a responsibility for every constituent in this district. Thank you, Lee.

Lee Zeldin
Well, one, it is very important to have local control, whether it’s the local government and the local community, that everybody has an opportunity to work together to have their voices heard, and to make decisions long-term, that a voice is certainly given to the people who live closest to the sites. I happen to live just a few miles from the Yaphank site. This is something that the EPA should be available to provide guidance, resources support, assessments, research to the maximum extent that the federal government can help the town and the local community in making decisions. I don’t want to see Congress, legislating away all of these different local decisions to get made across America. I believe that this is best decided on the local level, but the federal government has a an important role to play. We also need to continue our investment in our septic systems. I live on the Mastic peninsula. There are tens of thousands of people live on the Mastic peninsula. Forge River is rated as has been rated as the most polluted waterway in the state. The Carmens river is just a few blocks from my house on the other side of the peninsula. Fortunately, there are hundreds of millions of dollars coming to this area for a sewer upgrade. Getting additional funding, the federal government, working with the state governments to provide the resources for additional projects that — other downtowns, whether it’s in St. James, it’s downtown Smithtown, and its other parts of the First Congressional District. So it’s about providing federal support to the maximum extent possible. That includes the PFAS clean up and other ways to improve the water quality of what’s under us. I also believe that the EPA should set standards to ensure that the water quality is great underneath us, but it’s all about supporting the local government and the local community as much as possible.

Wealth disparities and education

LWV
Virtual teaching has shined a harsh light on the differences in education received by students in wealthier and poor districts. Students in universities are incurring substantial debt and questioning their tuition rates for virtual teaching. What is your vision of the federal government’s role in funding education, both at the K through 12 level and at higher levels?

Lee Zeldin
Well, this next Coronavirus response bill, both sides are putting substantial amount of funding onto the table. That’s an issue that both sides of the aisle are very close on. That’s not what I believe is holding off a deal at this point. That investment is important for our local schools to be able to level the playing field because it might be in one poor school district where the students can’t afford the technology. And that district doesn’t have the resources to provide the technology to their kids. But some other school district might be a wealthier school district, and the students have an ability to be able to afford that technology. And that’s where the school districts are providing everyone with the technology. It’s important to point out Title One funding has increased over the course of the last few years. When you compare our current fiscal year numbers to FY 2017. We need to continue that trajectory of increasing the investment of the federal government into education. So overall, those increases are good, and we should continue to build upon it and the best opportunity that is right in front of us is this next Coronavirus response bill, which should get done. I mean, listen, there’s a great deal that can be had tonight, we can go back to Congress this week, and have something passed and signed into law and that would provide a substantial amount of funding for education. Right now the administration has offered $1.8 trillion. There was a time in July and August where one side was at 1 trillion. The other side was at 2 trillion. I kind of thought at that moment and others thought that maybe the agreement would be around 1.4 trillion. And then here we are, the offers now $1.8 trillion. And it is a substantial amount of money is for education, PPE, support for families, state and local governments, food assistance, testing, and more. Education is a big component of that.

Nancy Goroff
As a lifelong educator, this is an issue which is personally incredibly important to me. Every child deserves access to be able to be able to live to their full potential. And we know that we must do better in making sure that all children have full access to broadband internet, to computers to use that. In this time of pandemic, it becomes that much more obvious. But it’s we know it’s important and critical. Even in regular times when we were all looking forward to getting back to those regular times. The federal government has to provide relief to our school districts, which are suffering so much from all of the increased costs. And of course, school districts in our poor communities simply do not have the resources to address these issues. But all of our communities are suffering right now. And we must get that federal relief as soon as possible. Beyond that, the federal government has to help with the inequities that exist in a public education system, where the primary source of funding is property taxes. That system is inherently unequal. And so we need to use Title One and Title Three funding to help communities that need extra resources. We also need to look at student debt. And I’m tremendously proud of my home university, Stony Brook University, which is one of the best schools in the country for social and economic mobility for students. In order to keep students from getting crippling debt, we need to be able, we need to allow students to refinance their student loans. And we need to increase Pell Grants so that there is more support for students to pay for their college education.

Voting fraud & integrity of election result

LWV
There’s a lot of political rhetoric, voicing concerns about disenfranchised voters and voting fraud. Are you concerned? And what is your outlook on both candidates accepting the outcome of the presidential election in November?

Nancy Goroff
Here in New York and in Suffolk County, we are very fortunate that we have a bipartisan board of elections. And I have every faith that every ballot will be counted here, whether people vote early, starting October 24. Or whether they vote in person at their regular polling place on Election Day, or if they submit their absentee ballot by mail. And the post office did a fantastic job in our primary where we had the best turnout ever in a New York-1 primary of making sure that every ballot got to the board of elections in a timely way. The recent electoral reforms that have been passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate and signed into law by Governor Cuomo make the protections that much better for all voters. If a voter makes a mistake and forgets to sign the inner envelope on their ballot, the Board of Elections is required to notify them before disqualifying the ballot. And the voter has the opportunity to sign an affidavit to say that this ballot really was theirs. So I have every faith and confidence in the integrity of our election here in New York-1. I think it’s unfortunate that our president has tried to send rhetoric that voting by mail is somehow not safe or shouldn’t be trusted, at the same time that the USPS had tried to remove funding for our post offices. That move was blocked by the courts, which said that it would be too risky and perhaps causing problems for people getting their ballots in. And so that funding has not actually been cut. Unfortunately, President Trump has done everything he can to undermine faith in our elections. And so I hope that the election results are clear and resounding and that everyone makes sure to vote.

Lee Zeldin
It’s important for everybody to exercise their right to vote. There are three different ways to vote. You can vote in New York here locally through absentee ballot, you can vote in person. Early voting starts this upcoming Saturday, October 24 and goes until November 1. I put up information about it on my website at Zeldin for congress.com. There’s a voter information center there. And it’s important for you to know that you can vote at any location in Suffolk County, that is listed on the dates and times that the Suffolk County Board of Elections have provided you’re voting on — it’s kind of like voting on Election Day, you’re voting on machines, you’ll be given a ballot, you just go to one of those locations, dates and times. And then of course, there’s in person voting on Election Day. There are a ban, you can only vote once. There are some people where there are some investigations going on right now in Suffolk. Multiple people have requested absentee ballots for dead relatives. Don’t do that. That’s a federal crime. That is a state crime. You don’t want to, you can only vote once. Don’t be requesting those ballots on behalf of dead relatives. We’ve had another issue where people who are not legally in the country have registered to vote and then actually voted. The reason why we know about them is that when they file for citizenship, they request to the Suffolk County Board of Elections removal from the voter rolls, because they’re applying for citizenship. If you are not eligible to vote at all, don’t vote. There are some issues that exist right now in our state. But it’s important for us to have integrity with regards to our local elections, whether state elections or federal elections. When all the votes are counted, and the process is complete. I believe it’s important for Americans to accept the results of the election. There’s a time for government and a time for politics. Right now, there’s a lot of politicking going on when this campaign is over. No matter what the race is at every level of government, our country needs to come together better than after 2016.

Closing statements

Nancy Goroff
Thank you. Thank you, again, to the League of Women Voters and all of the chapters that are part of our district for sponsoring this. And thank you, Kathy and Barbara, for your help. tonight. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to talk to all of you. We face incredible challenges now, from the pandemic, to fixing our healthcare system, to fighting against the worst effects of climate change. All of these challenges require leaders who are willing to look at facts and reality and work hard to help make our lives better. I hope from what you’ve heard tonight that you understand from my background and my experiences as a leader in our community. I am ready to do that. I’m excited about the opportunity to represent you. And I hope I’ve earned your support. Please make sure to vote and get everyone around you to vote. And we will see you at the polls. Thanks so much.

Lee Zeldin
Well, thank you to the league. Fantastic job. Kathy and Barbara, I appreciate you hosting doing a fantastic job of tonight’s debate. Listen, my opponent was a finalist for a job in Missouri as recently as 2017. She didn’t get the position. So now she wants to make herself a congressperson. She’s basically been running on one issue. She said she’s a scientist and that’s that’s great. I’ve actually done more to advance science just this year than my opponent has in her lifetime bringing home a $2 billion electron ion collider to Brookhaven National Laboratory and vital research, thousands of jobs. And I’m very proud of doing my part to steer that project to Brookhaven National Lab. Our country is is at a crossroads for seeing what one-party Democrat rule is doing in New York City what it’s doing in Washington — I watch colleagues— I’m sorry in Albany. I watch colleagues in Washington rolling Democrat leadership. Day in and day out. I don’t want them to have the ability, those far left Democrats to roll a president and vice president and Senate. I’ve dedicated my life to this country. I love this country. I love this district and it’s an honor to represent you. Please get out and vote. I’d appreciate your support in this important fight for this great country we all love.

Editor’s note: The audio recording of this debate was t’ranscribed by https://otter.ai.

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